Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/816

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Accidents may be turned to account, not only to teach how to avoid them, but the immutability of Nature's laws. The sooner a child finds that Nature never forgives a sin against her, the better for his health and happiness. I know one mother who has taught her child to see the relation between headaches and candy; and so well he understands it that now, at ten years of age, he does not overindulge, although the favorite sweets stand always on the library-table within his reach.

Take advantage of any unusual phenomena. The last transit of Venus was a chance offered not again in the lives of ourselves or our children, and every one might have seen it through a piece of smoked glass. A recent railroad-cut exposed fine examples of ripple marks, which will soon be buried from sight by falling earth. After some storms there are exceptional opportunities for lessons in physical geography and geology. Such chances are of more value than many things for which we put them aside.

The relation of natural-science studies to health and to the mental and moral culture of children has been suggested. Their industrial uses are familiar to all; so intimately are they connected with the life of man that knowledge of any branch makes one more capable in the conduct of his life. The relations between these studies and the great workshops of the world may with advantage be pointed out until the child feels the mighty pulse of the world's work and acknowledges his debt of service and brotherhood to all men. The habits of mind produced by continual contact with things, forces, phenomena, and laws promote clearness of insight and ability to look over a wide field, and to gather the facts necessary to form right conclusions.. These are the habits which give success in business.

Another important advantage in the study of the natural sciences is found in their relation to invention. The emancipation of man from continuous manual toil is the prophecy which Science has already uttered; and she but waits the men to put her forces at work in the right ways to fulfill this prophecy. A child rightly started has before him the possibility of doing some of this needed work, and so adding to the sum of human knowledge and comfort. If he does not do this, he will have the understanding which will appreciate and encourage the labor of others; and if his pursuits early lead him quite away from the impetus to those studies which his mother may have given in childhood, still her labors will be rewarded by the increased enjoyment which touch with Nature adds to any life.

For mothers who have acquired little or no knowledge of natural science, it may be well to indicate some of the best sources of information and direction. For the most elementary works,